Rep. Joe Barton (R-Civ IV)


Texas Congressman Joe Barton, a member of the Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection Subcommittee, is one of the stalwart votes for "kid-friendly" regulation in entertainment. But in a meeting yesterday, after railing against the sins of "Grand Theft Auto" series, Barton dropped this bomb.

I'll have to confess, Mr. Chairman, that I am also a video game player. I have worked my way up to Civilization IV. I haven't yet been able to beat it but I at least understand the fundamentals of it. I think that game is an 'E' game, which means that anybody can play it. Given the fact that the industry is booming and that more games are being purchased than ever before—over $10 billion last year—it is imperative, in my opinion, that parents are informed about the content in the games that their children are playing.

I find it hard to believe that Barton is a serious gamer. Five minutes of a good Civ IV game can result in the genocide of hundreds of thousands of people. Nuclear weapons can be dropped on cities; primitive cultures can be subjugated at the end of a broadsword. Meanwhile, in Grand Theft Auto, you can shoot a ho. If there's a better encapsulation of the priorities and ethics of our congressional censors, I've not seen it.